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The Principal Madrid hotel review: modern, elegant rooms with the best secluded roof terrace in the city

• Rating: 8/10
Rooms at The Principal Madrid start from 
$328 (£276) a night
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I adore Madrid for its laid-back lifestyle, summer heat, good food and compact size. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve visited but each time I like to check out a new, beautiful hotel to sleep in. From Relais & Chateaux Heritage Madrid hotel with its stunning rooms to the laid-back 7 Islas hotel, each city bolthole offers a totally unique experience. The Principal, my latest favourite hotel is perfect for its location—just around the corner from El Retiro Park and some of the city's best museums and galleries. From the outside, the hotel building is incredibly grand and sits just off Gran Via, opposite the stand-out Metropolis Building. But once inside, The Principle is a calm, super-luxurious boutique hotel with impeccable design throughout.

View of the Metropolis Building from The Principal's roof terrace
View of the Metropolis Building from The Principal's roof terrace

What’s the vibe?

Grown-up and kind of sexy. After taking the lift from street level up to the hotel's reception area, guests are met with an elegant open-plan space that’s perfect for relaxing, decked out with comfy armchairs and interesting art. On this floor, you’ll also find the large, bright breakfast area and a very pretty outdoor terrace that catches the sun all day long. For my visit, in the heat of July, The Principal felt super calm and I didn't see many other guests around the hotel.

How are the rooms?

There are 76 elegant, yet modern bedrooms in six different size categories, I opted for an executive room with king king-size bed. As far as décor goes, this room was exactly what I like, decorated in muted grey tones with accents of houndstooth and deep yellow. A few simple prints adorned the wall above the bed and the bathroom was huge and bright with a massive rainfall shower and natural beauty products by Finca Serene. My room had a full-length mirror, a desk with chair, huge TV (that never got switched on) and an open mini-bar area with a small coffee machine. It was definitely big enough for me as I was travelling solo but it would have suited a couple too. My room was very quiet at night and the bed was super comfy—I loved everything about the place.

Bedroom at The Principal Madrid Hotel
My room at The Principal Madrid Hotel

What is there to eat and drink?

Breakfast is served in the beautiful Ático restaurant, filled with plush pink chairs and floral cushions.

Ático restaurant where breakfast is served at the principal Madrid hotel
Ático restaurant where breakfast is served

I ate from the buffet selection on both days of my stay but chose to sit in the olive-tree-filled terrace to eat. I tried some of the Spanish cheeses and meat, plus fruit with juice and coffee, but there was also a menu to order from. I didn’t try Ático for dinner as had restaurant reservations for my time in the city but the impressive menu features fish dishes and local specialities. For colder months the hotel has a heated terrace overlooking the Metropolis Building, here you can order cocktails mixed by Manel Vehí.

terrace at the principal Madrid hotel
One of the hotel's terrace's 

Any highlights?

The urban roof garden filled with olive trees and sun loungers was my favourite part of the hotel. I’d take a book up there during afternoons to sunbathe and read while lying on the bright red loungers in complete solitude—total heaven.

Anything they could improve on?

Not one thing!

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